In Rouch’s first sustained experiment in the kind of “ethno-fictions” that would prove influential to so many filmmakers, three young men from Niger decide to emigrate to Ghana: each is descended from warriors, but the more immediate challenge is finding decent jobs. After an arduous journey, all three make it across the border into Ghana, at which point they separate. Ilo, who had worked as a fisherman, heads to the coast; lam, who herded cattle, tries his luck as a perfume merchant in Africa’s largest market. And Damouré becomes a “jaguar,” a young man dedicated to the pleasures of urban life. Their lives will continue to cross, separate, and then come together again; Rouch improvised much of the film, following suggestions made by his trio of non-actors based on their own experiences. 16mm print courtesy of the Institut Français.
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